Unlawful Entry Is the Question

Unlawful Entry Is the Question

By the look of this gateway, could it be a crime to go inside?

This is the entrance of old Redfern Railway Workshop Yard. There are signs indicating the way to theatre production warehouses inside. The only thing that gives a clue to “no trespassing” is the furthest stand inside, where small, rusty, fading and valdalised signs beneath the “WASTE DUMPING PROHIBITED” says:


I wonder who would not disregard all the confusing signs.

I took these photos as evidence of ambiguous signs, because Railcorp Transit Officers issued me with a fine for the offence of “Go/be on Railway Land” on 14 December 2004.
This is actually one my favourite locations in Sydney and the workshop will soon be demolished as part of a redevelopment plan by Redfern-Waterloo Authority. Check out the photos I took on the day in my Corrode Series: Scratched, Striped, Scoured, Stained. I had been there before for a number of times—End Rail,
Forgotten—without any warnings from anyone about the infringement.

It’s a popular spot for other photographers too, and people walks their dogs there as well.

Now I am facing AU$400 penalty and have decided to fight it in the local court. Please leave comment for your support. It will be greatly appreciated.

15 thoughts on “Unlawful Entry Is the Question”

  1. This seems pretty mean to me. The other signs certainly make this look like a public road, including the very public-road-like speed-hump signs.

    $400 seems pretty damn steep, too. If it were me I probably wouldn’t take it to court, because I’d get too stressed about it. But everybody’s tolerance for that kind of thing is different (luckily).

    Best of luck, and keep us informed.

  2. As a photographer who does a considerable amount of street work, I sympathise with your plight.
    The area in question does not have a clear or specific warning indicating that trespass will result in a fine, so I agree with your argument and probably would have made the same mistake myself.
    Good luck with your court case, it’s certainly not fair to be penalised as a photographer when others are using the location regularly with impunity.
    Rob Hesketh

  3. HI ! 😀
    I have just had a little fofolle idea : “the 36 strainers project” (see my blog). My goal is also, by the way, to make discover others blogs to my usual visitors.
    It’s great fun ! Please take part !
    PS : excuse my poor english.
    A bientt ?

  4. Actually I was trying to comment on the fine you received from the railroad. Personally it is definitely a bummer. Currently the definition of trespassing has taken on much more serious circumstances(at least in the states). As photographers; I believe we have a responsibility to make our intentions very clear. That means asking permission even if we think no one is around.

  5. Good to see another Aussie photoblogger. Commiserations on the charge – that completely sucks. Why does everyone get so het up about us stealing their precious photons?
    I have to say, given Aus law (not that I know it real well) you would have to have a fair chance of having it dismissed. Warnings and rules like that are considered completely unenforcable in law if they are not clearly visible to the average person. For example, as I understand it, disclaimers in fine print have been thrown out of court, simply because they are in fine print, and therefore it is reasonable that people could have missed them.
    No warning, and no clear signage. I’d fight it. And if your photos can save you from the fine, the irony would be delicious.

  6. Those signs are impossible to make out – and the gate is left so far open as to actually look like an deliberately designed entrance through the fencing.
    Good luck in fighting it.

  7. I totally agree with you and I think I would go along with the court procedure myself too. I think Straynjer has the right idea. I’d say: check out some organizaton for legal advice if needed.
    Good luck and let us know of the situation + if I can help (somehow)

  8. Thank you, folks for your all supports. The case is still in progress. I went to NSW Legal Aid for an advice with a draft letter to Infringement Process Bureau. I revised the letter as adviced and sent it. At the moment, I am waiting for their response. I will definitely let you guys know how it unfolds.

  9. Good luck with the court fight, at the very least I hope you can get them criticised for not maintaining those signs and protecting the entrance if it’s so damn important to them.

  10. Wow that is harsh.
    Every time i go past this place on the train i always think i would love to get in there and take some shots. Maybe it is not such a good idea.
    Good luck with the case. Fight the man

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